Leopard - Hybrids

Hybrids

Crossbreeding between leopards and other members of the genus Panthera has been documented, resulting in hybrids. A cross between a lioness and a male leopard is known as a leopon (or a lipard if the sex of the parents is reversed). Leopons have been bred in captivity; a well-documented case occurred at the Koshien Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya, Japan in the late 1950s. Although lions and leopards may come in to contact in sub-Saharan Africa, they are not widely believed to interbreed naturally. However, there have been anecdotal reports of small lions with exceptionally pronounced spotting, known as "marozis" and various other names, in several African countries, for which there has been cryptozoological speculation that they may be naturally occurring lion-leopard hybrids.

Crossbreeding between jaguars and leopards in captivity has also been documented. A cross between a female leopard and a male jaguar is referred to as a jagupard, the reverse is known a leguar; however, crosses between either have also been called lepjags. Such crosses can only occur in captivity because leopards do not exist in the wild on the American continents where jaguars live. There have also been a few claims of crosses between tigers and leopards.

A pumapard is a hybrid animal resulting from a mating between a leopard and a puma (a member of the Puma genus, not the Panthera genus). Three sets of these hybrids were bred in the late 1890s and early 1900s by Carl Hagenbeck at his animal park in Hamburg, Germany. While most of these animals did not reach adulthood, one of these was purchased in 1898 by the Berlin Zoo. A similar hybrid in the Berlin Zoo purchased from Hagenbeck was a cross between a male leopard and a female puma. A specimen in the Hamburg Zoo (in the photo at right) was the reverse pairing, fathered by a puma bred to an Indian leopardess.

Whether born to a female puma mated to a male leopard, or to a male puma mated to a female leopard, pumapards inherit a form of dwarfism. Those reported grew to only half the size of the parents. They have a puma-like long body (proportional to the limbs, but nevertheless shorter than either parent), but short legs. The coat is variously described as sandy, tawny or greyish with brown, chestnut or faded rosettes.

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